Publicly funded holidays for the Welsh Development Agency

A Freedom of Information request has revealed that the Welsh Development Agency (WDA) has spent almost £150,000 of public money entertaining clients over a six month period, from November 2004 to April 2005.

The money was spent on private boxes at American football and basketball games, trips to Australia, Hong Kong and France and reception dinners. £143,499 of public money was spent hosting businesses and politicians. The "corporate hospitality opportunities" included almost £28,000 on a trip to the Hong Kong Sevens to "target Chinese and Australian multipliers and business projects", £9,500 on three visits to America to watch the Miami Dolphins football and Boston Celtics basketball teams, and £15,000 on hospitality for London firms at the Wales v England Six Nations tie.

Alun Cairns, Conservative economic development spokesman, said: "When hundreds of WDA staff are facing redundancy as a result of the merger with the Welsh Assembly Government, it will be difficult for the Agency to explain why thousands of pounds are being spent on events such as the Miami Dolphins. This is more akin to a holiday treat rather than the promotion of Wales as an inward investment opportunity."

The WDA insisted every event they paid for provided the taxpayer with value for money.

Storm rages over WDA junkets (Wales on Sunday, 5 June 2005)


Anonymous said...

So what, why not ask BT how much they spend on hospitality?